Lockdown is back for parts of Australia, but if you’re looking for something to do, grab your phone or computer and survive with these ideas.
Try as we’d like to move on, the pandemic keeps on coming back with a vengeance. We’ll eventually get through this, but if you’re unlucky enough to be placed in lockdown, you’re possibly in a part of Australia at the time of publishing.
But we’re all in your together, and that means we’re all looking for ways to ride out the time at home with something to do. There are things we’ll naturally gravitate towards, but there’s plenty you can do to help you have a lockdown life at home.
So here are some ways to help you survive lockdown with technology at your side.
Books and comics
Reading the days away is a good way to deal with lockdown, immersing that kind of yours into worlds created by other people. That means books and comics, and any other written work you think you’d like to read.
Now may be the time to cross off your bucket list books, and maybe add some others, and you can do that digitally.
Turning to a Kindle may be the easiest way to do that, thanks in part to how easy it is to buy books on Amazon’s Kindle book store, not to mention the buffet of books on the Kindle Unlimited subscription, which can you grab for a month. Hopefully the lockdown doesn’t last quite that long.
You don’t necessarily need a Kindle for Amazon’s books, either, with Kindle books working through the app on other devices, including your phone, too.
Kindle isn’t the only eBook maker in town, mind you. Rakuten’s Kobo offers eBooks in the more standard ePub format, as does Apple’s Bookstore, and even some of the local bookstore brands you might want to support, too.
There are other places to find books, though.
Australia saw the launch of Scribd this year, which provides thousands of titles, mostly in magazines, but also in comic form, too, as does Humble Bundle, a service that allows you to buy bundles of content for sums that you can donate to charity. You can find books and comics on Humble Bundle in various amounts, and they’re yours to keep forever.
But even if you don’t want to pay for a title, Australian libraries may be able to help you out, as these offer digital books you can check out.
If you have a membership with your local library, you may be able to check out books from Overdrive, BorrowBox, Gale, IndyReads, the CSIRO, and others. Check your local library, which may still take membership requests, as may your state’s national library.
And if all else fails, check out Project Gutenberg, which provides thousands of free books and titles to read, many of which are classics.
Next up is the ever-important task of staying fit, because lockdown can be detrimental to your health. While you can typically go outside for exercise, you might feel less inclined to given there aren’t as many places to go.
Part of that whole effort of keeping you at home unless you need to go out is meant to dissuade you from having a reason to go out unnecessarily. That’ll keep the numbers of people slim, but also means you mightn’t be encouraged to go out for exercise as often.
Fortunately, there are ways to exercise at home in front of phone, tablet, or TV, with numerous exercise platforms out there, including Chris Hemsworth’s Centr, as well as Apple’s own Apple Fitness, though the latter does require an Apple Watch to work.
Alternatively, you may want to look around at local gyms, boxes, yoga classes, F45, and Crossfit, to name a few. While gyms will require face masks and may run with limited numbers until lockdown has ended, fitness services may also provide their services digitally, so if you’re a member of a gym and want to keep attending, you may be able to online still from your bedroom or living room.
“A big sentiment that we’ve got at the moment with our members is that people weren’t so proud of how they handled last lockdown, and they want this one to be different,” said Andrew Handosa, owner of the F45 gym at Sydney’s Broadway in Glebe and Geronimo, a company that helps other gyms grow.
“Because of last lockdown, we were preparing for it to be a bit longer, [so] people went out and bought equipment,” he said. “I think this time there’s going to be less of that happening, and more just kind of either dealing with it, or jumping in on all the body weight stuff at home.”
It means that some of what you might do normally at the gym could still be handled from inside your own home, rather than simply giving it up because lockdown limits gym attendance.
But much like a regular gym, it might also be an idea to keep in contact with people who want to stay as active as you. Ideally, it’s someone who can keep you accountable on your goal of staying fit through this time, Handosa told Pickr, fondly calling it an “accountability buddy”.
“I suppose we’re more likely to let ourselves down,” Handosa said. “So if we’ve got someone else that also wants to get through lockdown in the best possible way, find a buddy to help keep you accountable. And also set a goal for each week, whether it’s four workouts or 70,000 steps; set a goal that you and your accountability buddy are going to try and stick to.”
Games and fun
Fitness can help you loosen up, but if you’re feeling like you want to let loose with some entertainment, or maybe even solve a problem in a digital way, games might be the answer. If you own a Windows PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet, Apple TV, or console, you have options to play some games and chill out through lockdown.
For computers, there’s a lot to pick between, if not having it all, with free games each week on the Epic Games Store to add to your library, plus discounts regularly across that platform, and the same is true on the Steam store. Games on these platforms are wide and varied, and run across Windows and Mac (mostly the former), but it’s not the only place to turn to.
The aforementioned Humble Bundle for books and comics is a great place to find inexpensive bundles of games, which was actually how it started, while Fanatical Games also offers discounted bundles of titles, too.
Over in the console world, there are the subscription services, and each offers games made easy. Microsoft offers its Xbox Game Pass with EA’s games thrown in, which works across Xbox console and Windows PCs to deliver a smorgasbord of games in what is basically a feast of fun, while Sony’s PlayStation Plus partakes with a couple of free titles monthly plus discounts on the range.
And in the phone and tablet world, plus on Apple TV, there’s a fair bit, too.
We probably don’t need to tell you about the various app stores you have available on your devices, not to mention the size of the games section, however you may be less aware of the subscription services.
With iPhones, iPads, the iPod Touch, Macs, and the Apple TV, there’s the Apple Arcade service, which offers lots of games for a monthly fee, something we found initially to be a great service that has grown in number in the time since.
Android has its own take with Google Play Pass, which is basically the Android equivalent, charging a monthly fee to apps and games that won’t ask you for an extra cost.
Education and skills
While games are for fun, you might want to take the time during lockdown to learn something at home, and there are plenty of ways to do that.
Learning new skills is something you can easily do in isolation, whether it’s for work or something else you’ve always wanted to go.
On the work side of things, you might want to check out the large number of courses available at Udemy, EdX, or possibly get an employer to provide support with courses at PluralSight or the LinkedIn equivalent.
There are plenty of technology courses out there, and we’ve highlighted a few free ones back when learning skills was an idea for last year’s lockdown isolation period, but you can also pick skills to learn for fun.
For instance, if you’re keen to learn some music, have a search on YouTube for instructional videos or play around with Fender Play. Another option, Kadenze can offer music production lessons that might show you a side of life you’ve not dabbled in.
And there are so many other places to find lessons to learn, some of which come from experts from around the world. Masterclass could give you lessons in life from people you love, with actors, writers, chefs, and more coming together to explain their craft on the paid platform, while Duolingo could get you learning a new language all using an app on your phone.
By the end of lockdown, you might be able to speak another language, handy for the eventual occasion of boarding a flight to take you where they speak it.
We probably don’t need to tell you there’s a lot of music out there, with the many millions upon millions of tracks for you to listen to, something you can enjoy at your leisure.
Beyond that, you may want to grab a podcast or two and listen to someone speak. While our five minute podcast The Wrap isn’t likely to take much of your lockdown time, there are scores of podcasts to check out online, you merely just need to have a look for a topic you’re interested in, and download and listen.
Beyond the mere music and podcasts, there are virtual concerts, as well, something you might be more willing to try if the feeling of a live show is missing from your life now that lockdown has returned.
There are ways to experience concerts from your home, though, with numerous places to go for live music, some of which might be free, even if many will ask for a ticket price for a stream.
Aside for the obvious place that is YouTube for finding past concerts to check out, there are other services that cater to concerts running live gigs to enjoy at home, including Songkick, Live Now, StageIt, World Concert Hall, Berliner Philharmoniker, and Nugs.net, to name a few. You might even find a venue you like offers live streams internationally, such as the Lincoln Centre in New York and Tipitina’s in New Orleans.
There’s even a place to check out live streams of broadway performances, with the aptly named Broadway HD.
Beyond these, you may want to a streaming music platform you might use, because there’s a good chance there are live performances that have been recorded, such as via Apple Music’s music video section or through Tidal’s previous performances.
Movies and TV
Finally, there’s the obvious one: movies and TV shows.
You probably have a seemingly endless wishlist of material to watch on either Netflix, Stan, Disney+, Binge, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, and so on and so on, making lockdown an ideal time to get stuck in the list.
Even if you don’t opt for one of the many paid-for media services, Australia’s free-to-air networks can provide something to watch, as well. Between ABC, SBS, Seven, Nine, and Ten, there’s a good assortment of ways to get your watch on without necessarily needing to reach for your wallet.